Cristal Thomas Gary


Cristal Thomas Gary is a principal based in Chicago.  As a principal, Cristal is an expert in state and Medicaid policy, helping clients navigate complex issues and innovate to maximize value.  She also oversees the State Insight practice area.

Cristal is a public policy expert and strategist with 15 years’ experience as a trusted advisor to governors, cabinet secretaries, and health care executives. She has led complex health and human service agencies as well as several bold Medicaid and health care delivery system transformation initiatives.

Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, Cristal founded Elusive Policy Solutions, a consulting & advisory firm specializing in health care policy, strategy and engagement. In this role she applied her health care policy, administration, and reform expertise to help clients better understand policy-related opportunities and risks, refine business strategy, and improve stakeholder engagement and strategic partnerships.

She is a former Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois, where she led the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, two major initiatives to reform the state’s Medicaid program, and development of a 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver. She is also a former state Medicaid Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region V Director, and a White House Office of Management and Budget Policy Analyst.

Cristal received her bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.